As much as we love edc backpacks – and we really do – it has to be said that they aren’t always the best option for when you’re trying to haul gear from point A to B. Sure, urban commuting backpacks offer you comfort and assurance because they’re right on your back as you are riding. They also fit in just as easily on the bike as off it. But they do stifle riders. They make it so one feels weighed down, and maybe a little too sweaty for their own good. That is why we think its worth considering panniers for your bike.
Designed to sit on the side of your bike’s back rack, these bags offer up tons of space, water and weather resistance, reflectivity, and the freedom to ride without a heavy bag on your shoulders. Bike panniers are loved by urban commuters and bike tourers alike, but with this list here, we chose to focus on the former. These bags are purpose built to be taken on and off your bike regularly as you go to and from your apartment to the office, grocery store, or famers market. Many of them also have a degree of reflectivity for increasing your visibility while on the road. Whatever it is you’re looking for in a pannier for bike commuting, we’re sure you’ll find it in our roundup.
Timbuk2 Portal Pannier
This pannier from Timbuk2 has just about everything one could want for commuting. Cut from a tough nylon fabric, the bag is capable of standing up to hard use and riding through both sunny and foggy conditions. It boasts a high capacity bucket interior for throwing in things like your lunch, a change of gym clothes, or notes for that upcoming meeting. For smaller items the bag has front zip pockets, and even has a reflective screen-printed logo for keeping you seen during those twilight commutes. The hardware on the bag is secure, but easy to remove when you’ve reached your destination – something that is assisted by the bag’s adjustable, removable shoulder strap.
Banjo Brothers Minnehaha Series Canvas Waterproof Pannier
Looking for a simple but capable bike pannier? Consider this bag from Banjo Brothers. Billed as an alternative to the high-vis nylon bags so many cyclists sport on their steed, this bag is instead cut from a 20oz waxed canvas fabric that – with the help of a removable and replaceable waterproof liner – is tough enough to keep your gear dry and save even when the skies open up. The 18L capacity bag features a rigid polymer back panel for keeping a stiff fit, and a hook and retention system that work with most all tubing up to 12mm. For smaller items and attaching lights, the bag has an external strap and zippers.
Blackburn Wayside Bike Pannier
For those of you who are too indecisive to choose between either a backpack or a pannier for bike commuting, we have a solution for you. Its name? The Blackburn Wayside bike backpack. Along with featuring straps, a rolltop closure, and a pair of external pockets for storing easy access items, this pack features a system of straps that allow it to be secured to the back rack on your bicycle. That means you can strap this waxed canvas bag to your bike, park it, and then use the bag as a backpack for the rest of the day. And to top it off, it isn’t too shabby looking, either.
Ortlieb Urban Bike Pannier
Another relatively unassuming pannier for bike commuting, this time coming for the folks at Ortlieb. Made from a combination of cotton and Cordura, it has a natural look to it that doesn’t compromise on toughness or durability. Along with that resilient fabric exterior, the pannier features an inner polyurethane coating for waterproofing and easy interior cleanup. For a secure fit on your bike rack, the pannier has an easily adjustable system of hardware that attaches and detaches incredibly easily. To top to off, the pannier features a fist-sized reflective patch along the side for visibility on nighttime commutes home.
Thule Shield Pannier
For those that don’t think twice about hopping on the saddle when the skies open up, this pannier for bike commuting is worth a look. Built to attach to Thule’s Pack ’n Pedal bike racks (as well as other more standard racks), they are easy to take on and off quickly. In addition to their straight-forward attachment and detachment mechanisms, the packs boast a super tough water and dust-resistant IP64 rated construction and a roll-top closure for keeping your gear dry no matter what. The interior of the bag has a series of slots for storing smaller items like pads of paper, edc pens, and other on the go office supplies. And all of that is without mentioning the reflective patterning and bike light attachments on the bag for visibility.
Brooks England Suffolk Rear Travel Panniers
If its a higher quality pannier you’re looking for – and one with a recognizable name – then we suggest this pannier. Made by Brooks in Europe, this bike pannier features a durable waterproof material with a roll-top closure and large exterior pocket for quick-access items. Side pockets on the bag are made from a four-way stretch material and allow for storing things like bike tools and emergency replacement tubes. And to top it off, the bike pannier has an attractive look to it that you’ll be more than happy to tote around with you all day.
Arkel Commuter Panniers
Simple and sturdy as hell, this pack from Arkel is ideal for those who are looking for something they can rely on for years to come. The laptop pannier (this is one of the few panniers out there with a solid laptop sleeve) is made from a 1000 denier Cordura nylon that is both abrasion and water resistant, has an additional interior waterproof liner, and a Cam-Lock mounting system for a secure fit. In addition to these features, the bag has two reflective sections for visibility, and a comfortable shoulder strap and carry handle for when you park your bike. You really couldn’t ask for more.
Mission Workshop The Transit Bag
OK so we’re pushing it a little here. Not quite a pannier as much as it is a big handlebar pack, this bag from Mission Workshop is the ultimate in cycling portage. It functions well as a shoulder bag and briefcase for work with its 19-liters of storage and laptop compartment. But when you hop on your bike? It has a series of secure straps and buckles for being attached to your bike’s front rack. A great, American made solution for getting your stuff from point A to B.
30 Best Everyday Carry Backpacks For Men
Still not quite ready to ditch bags with straps? Take a look through our list of the best everyday carry backpacks for men. We’ve pulled together a rundown of what we think are some of the hands-down best out there.